How DuPont profits from drought: Half the rainfall, double the profits

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: DuPont, drought, agri-business

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(NaturalNews) When there are drought conditions, you might think that an agri-business corporation's bottom line would suffer, but not so for chemical giant DuPont, whose quarterly profits more than doubled despite the worst dry spell in decades.

According to Reuters, DuPont's profits have soared as U.S. farmers flocked to by the company's "drought-hardy seeds" and other "crop-protection products" to increase their yields.

In good times and bad, DuPont doing well

In addition, the company's finances were also boosted by strong wheat, soybean and corn prices, which "spurred agricultural sales in the Americas," the news service reported April 23, helping DuPont beat its previous estimates for the latest financial quarter though the company experienced a significant reduction in demand for its once-profitable titanium dioxide paint pigment.

On April 22, the Wilmington, Delaware-based agri-chem giant's shares were up 0.7 percent to close at $50.74.

"The first quarter finished as expected, with the strong agriculture performance and performance chemicals' decline from peak levels last year," said DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman in a statement.

So, despite weather that is anything but conducive to growing crops, DuPont still made out like a bandit. Per Reuters:

The 210-year-old company, known for its chemicals business, is focusing on food and agriculture products that are less exposed to ebbs and flows in titanium dioxide (Ti02) sales. The shift is evident in the $5 billion sale of its car paint unit last year and the $6 billion purchase of nutritional supplements maker Danisco in 2011.

Said John Roberts, head of U.S. chemical company research at financial firm USB Investment Research, in advance of DuPont's quarterly report: "Ti02 has declined and it's a much smaller factor now. We also think it is bottoming so it's become less of an issue."

Roberts said he expected first-quarter earnings of $1.55 per share, beating the Wall Street estimates of $1.52 per share. Taking out one-time items, DuPont actually earned $1.56 per share, Reuters reported.

Droughts no longer a financial problem

In fact, the agriculture business was DuPont's biggest revenue source in the fourth quarter of 2012, contributing nearly 45 percent to the company's overall income. Despite radicalized weather, it seems, DuPont and other agri-business giants will continue to make out well.

Per, a financial analysis site, from a year ago:

DuPont is probably still thought of primarily for its advanced material products like Kevlar and Tyvek, but the reality is that agriculture is a huge part of this business - fully one-third of sales and proportionately more of the company's growth.

The site also said that agri-giant Monsanto is probably "three years ahead" of DuPont in the development of seeds and other agriculture products with "drought-resistant traits."

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